The Importance of Family Photos // San Diego Family Photographer Cindie Wolf

Do you really need to update your family pictures every year?

A lot of families ask me this questions and well, no you don’t, but you should for several reasons.

LOCOCO-BABY_082713_0148.2w

If you have kids they GROW SO FAST! It seems like yesterday my children were toddlers, but the reality is I now have three grandchildren that I adore and even they are growing too fast! Holding their snuggly newborn bodies, watching them learn to sit up, say their first words, take their first steps…. It all flies by, way too fast. They grow and change so quickly that I recommend getting family photographs and “spotlight” photos (of each child individually) every three to six months their first year and then once a year from ages one to five. After five, I suggest family photos every other year from then on. Losing the first tooth, hitting double digits on their birthday, the first year of being a “tween” (12), roaring into teenager status, sweet 16 and the big 18! These are all mile marker years and all of them should be celebrated and documented.

2009Noah_familyportraits_030610_0642

It’s not about creating an altar for each child throughout the house. You won’t really display every photo from every year, but we can create a long-term plan so that as you add legacy pieces to your home. You should enlarge one or two portraits from each session. I suggest my clients redisplay portraits around the house or even swap their enlargements seasonally. This way your home and your art will still hold that “put together” look and still belong together. Your newest enlargement should always be in the primary place in the home, over the fireplace or in your main room. With all the rest of your photos from your sessions, you may want to print some small gift prints like 5×7 and 8×10’s to put around the house or at the office or give as family gifts. I like to create coffee table books in those years when there isn’t the need to update the large family photograph. These are about 10×10 with 30 images inside; they are a great way to save your favorites and look back over time. Family and friends will surely go through these when they come to visit.

As the years’ pass, we will create over time a volume of albums to document your family’s story. If you stop and look you can see the perfect place for these albums to be stored on a bookshelf, or in another place of honor in your home. Imagine a shelf with 10 albums and on the spine it says Our Family 2016, Our Family 2018 and so on… no small moment will be forgotten.

ChildersKim_121617_0114c.w

 

Family photos aren’t all about matching white button downs with khaki cargo pants. A true San Diego family photographer should guide you through not only wardrobe, color themes, hair, and makeup but also through creating a vision for your session and home décor that is a true representation of your family. Fun, exciting with your fashion sense and memorable all while creating art you will always cherish.

ValeriesFamily_102316_0106w

So, what about CD’s? I hear this a lot these days and the funny thing is when I did offer these, I was told they sat in a drawer.  Technology is changing much too fast to rely on having a CD of images. Just today I heard that Best Buy will no longer be selling CD’s! Apple has already come out with the UCSB, a replacement for the USB. When I started in computers everything was on a 5″ floppy and those are relic’s now.

I offer a full studio experience,  with the best products on the market, not a CD of images. The products I offer are Legacy pieces, designed with your home in mind, and your legacy in mind.  I offer Italian leather fine art handmade heirloom albums, gallery wrap canvas, giclee acrylics, high-quality metals and fine art prints. These are chosen to be beautiful and to last.  Every time we meet to bounce ideas off each other on your next family session, we will discuss fun, innovative ways to photograph your family in a manner that will be creative and unique to you!  We will also determine which products should be considered for that session.

Images are meant to be printed and displayed. The goal of a true professional is to ensure you have art pieces that can be shared with your family.

When you look back over the years at your family’s art collection, do you think you would regret investing your time and money in creating and documenting these memories? I can honestly assure you, you won’t. Or you can look at it from another perspective – do you think you would regret looking back over the years and not having your children photographed at birth, or when they had their first birthday or when they turned five and lost their first tooth? I guarantee you would.

ABOUT CINDIE WOLF

San Diego Family Photographer | San Diego Portrait Photographer | San Diego Children’s Photographer | San Diego Headshot Photographer | San Diego Glamour Photographer

Family Portraits Support Happy Kids

 I was talking with my mom recently (she is a marriage, family, child therapist) about the value of family portraits in a home.  She made some great points that I hadn’t considered which got me thinking, so I started digging into what’s been written about this. One of the powerful aspects of family photography that I wasn’t aware of, is how having portraits in your home can help raise children with stronger confidence in their own worth and abilities. Psychologists and experts have done some work exploring this, so I looked it up.

In 1975 a study was done with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five-week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions while expressing a variety of emotions. Over those five weeks, the children worked with printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of the study revealed a 37% (significant) increase in the student’s average self-esteem behaviors. This Murfreesboro Study shows some evidence that personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem.

How does having Family Portraits help boost this process in the home?

In 1983, David Krauss, one of the earliest pioneers in using people’s personal photography and family albums to assist in mental health counseling and therapy, co-authored “Photo Therapy and Mental Health”. This became what is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy. He said: “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unity.”

Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver says: “Family Portraits lets children learn who they are and where they fit”.  “They learn genealogy and the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photography they say to themselves: These people have me as a part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.”

Ms. Weiser has spent more than 20 years using all manner of personal photography to assist in the treatment process of her clients. She is considered by many to be the foremost authority on these treatment techniques called Photo Therapy.

tryptechand811x14_StairsPrints vs Digital

Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist from Eugene, Oregon, who works with children ages five through 13 states: “My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print”. Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse of touchscreen monitor, but you are not touching the image”.

Displaying Portraits in your home

“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced”, says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri and the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.

Additionally, Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day. “It says we love you and we care about you. You’re important”!

teenbedroom_rusticromanticImagine placing portraits in your children’s room of them being happy in your arms. According to the experts, this could be something that might help ground them as they go through their teen years.  Portraits speak when there are no words to be spoken. They are a gentle reminder and they bring to life positive memories that constantly reassure and message, “you belong” and “you are loved”. Having your kids see this when they wake up and as they fall asleep would keep that message alive when they go to their room angry and moody.

When my children moved out of state, I would find myself walking through the house, then stop to look at the image on the wall and just relive the memory! I hated that they were all so far away, but as I stared at the image on the wall, just for a moment, I got to hear their voices and relive that moment…

I hope you celebrate your family on your walls; walls that you see and walk past each day. One day those beautiful children of yours will be grown and gone, and you will walk through the house and pause, remembering all the chaotic, messy life that happened all around you while your children were growing up. Every impactful memory will be there in front of you, hanging on your walls.

What a wonderful way to never forget those moments!

Sunflower Garden is open!

Over the past two years, I’ve wandered out my front door and walked down the path with a purpose. Here, I check all the pretties lined up to make sure no more rabbitts have eaten more of the tender young sprouts that I have so much hope in.  I have pIanted,  I water, I weed, I spread mulch, I collect rocks and pray that the beauty I imagine will come and this garden will radiate love and glee and hope. I imagine children will be bewildered by the sizes of the giants and mothers will be enamored with the colors and happy faces. I pray it will be a place that dads can toss their kids up to see tallest ones or carry them on their shoulders and children can give their mama’s a  flower or two.

Kugler_Sunflowers_060217_0153-2w

This week the garden is ready, the  Sunflowers have finally bloomed! After so many months the next two weeks will be the perfect time to take advantage of this family venue.  The garden is open for portraits starting at 7pm in the evening until June 18th.

$175 Session fee,  Packages begin at $325  Call 619.208.1282 to book your session today!

Kugler_Sunflowers_060217_0008

You are never so beautiful as you are now

BrunettoGirls_ 151010_462cl

While out walking my dogs yesterday, my neighbor stopped me on the street for a quick chat. As our conversation progressed, she asked me about photographing her 3 children. So I  asked her when her last portrait was done with her kids, I was surprised to hear her say what every young mom I come across says:  “I want the memories of my children and I’m not good in front of a camera, I don’t like how I look!” Now, she’s in her 30’s and amazingly beautiful; so imagine my surprise! Here is what I told her-

When my youngest daughter was getting married we went through crates of photographs to put together the story of her life for the wedding. As we went through these images and relived each day of every one of them, she looked at me and said: “Wow Mom, You did an amazing job of documenting our lives, but you’re not in any of the pictures!! She was right-I always thought that I would “lose 10 lbs first” or didn’t like whatever it was about myself and dodged the opportunity to be photographed with my children. But I was so wrong!

She then proceeded to scold me and let me know how her memories were of all of us and she wanted the images to go along with them! I can still hear her words: “Mom, do you see how selfish that was?” “We love you and want you as you are!” How could I argue with that? How could ANY MOM argue with that?!

There are 3 things I learned from my daughter because of this, that I want to share with you:

This is what I got from my daughters-I believe they speak on behalf of all daughters to their mothers!

1). You are never more beautiful than you are today. And today is really all you have. You are their mom, and they love you no matter what your ideals of yourself are.

2). Your family portrait is about your family. How your children adore you, how you look at each other, feel about each other, live and have fun together. It is also about how your children will remember their childhood. Eventually, they will tell their children (your grandchildren) about their memories, and if you’ve done your job well, they will have lot’s of photographs to show them.

3). How you feel about yourself will affect how they feel about themselves. If you are timid due to the way you look, they will become timid with the way they look. This point she made sure to let me know about!

I believe everyone should have an image of themselves that they love. One that captures the essence of who you are, looking your very best. I strive to provide everyone with this type of image.

Someday when you are older and your children are gone, you can sit and smile at the beautiful images that are hanging on the walls of your home that tell your family’s story. Then you’ll laugh and remember how wonderfully chaotic and completely filled up your life was when your children were growing up;  and all those photographs will show is your beautiful self, surrounded by your beautiful family!

Celebrate your life, celebrate the lives of your family, the love of your spouse and the love of your children. Get in front of the camera and keep your mind thinking about how much you love them while you are doing it. Because then, this is what the portrait will be about!

From my heart to yours,

-Cindie

 

Thought for the day:  “Sometimes life is completely complicated, but you decide to make it simple because you accept it to be beautiful and it means that your choice is to be happy” -Ky Vanchhay

A Love Built To Last..

I was surprised when Vicky called and said” “I want you to photography Mike and I”. After all, she lived 3 hours away in Apple Valley, why call me, I thought? They had just completed 4 weddings within all their children…again, why me? Of course, I was flattered, humbled actually when she told me she loved my style of photography, and she really wanted me, my heart melted.

As I interviewed her as to why she wanted photographs of her little family (the love of her life, Mike, and their 2 dogs), she told me: “We have had some really hard times, ya know? I want photographs to show my children that with the love of Christ, commitment to each other, you can get through anything and love. And that love will continue to grow”.

We scheduled the session for my favorite dog beach in Coronado. It was chilly, but not cold in December and the water was wonderful! What happened next was a bit of a fairy tale…

People are usually nervous at first when someone follows them with a camera, but after she ran with the dogs and they all played, they seemed to relax.  With minor direction,  Mike and Vicky danced in the water while the incoming waves washed over them. He twirled her, they giggled and laughed at what I asked them to do…. But, when people love each other and you ask them to dance, they start focusing on each other and the moment instead of the nut getting wet with the camera!

Next came magic, he put her on his back and twirled her around, they played like they were teenagers courting and in the moments when they kissed, they only saw each other; they were only in that moment.

Vicky had been battling cancer and while I thought she was better, she wasn’t. I spoke with her one  Wednesday and she was having a very hard time. But after talking for awhile we were laughing, sharing stories of encouragement, faith and how God planned for our humanity. God knows us better than we know ourselves and Christ said: “In our weakness He is strong”. This I truly saw in Vicky.

Mike called me the following Wednesday to tell me she had died. He started crying and blurted out: “She didn’t  place the order and we have no pictures of her”. She died and they had no photographs….my heart broke. I was calm as we went over what her favorites were, but I cried as I prepared them for printing and I cried when I called my lab and said this is special, please make this happen.

I am surrounded by her memory, her laugh, her images and her great faith in Christ. A photograph of her and Mike acting like teenagers hangs on the wall in my studio, it’s a story of great love. You see, in her passing, she left a great testimony, a family that she loved and devoted herself to and a man that was the love of her life.

Today her family, her mother, and step-dad, her children, and step-children and Mike with the dogs are all together in upstate New York, where Vicky is from. They are all together to spread her ashes in this one spot that she loved so much. They are all together to celebrate her life, her love and to say goodbye. Goodbye, a goodbye that is so very final.

I learned the power of a photograph from Vicky. Someday she will have grandchildren and all those grandchildren will hear stories of an amazing woman that was mischievous, loving and filled with laughter. An amazing woman who had great faith in a great God and made sure she shared that with every relationship she had. And while her grandchildren listen to the stories, they will her photographs and these photographs will keep those stories and memories alive.

This is what Love looks like.   A love built on the best and hardest times, filled with triumphs and defeats. A love that never quit in the face of the impossible. This is a Love built to last.

graham_vicky_120115_0394

graham-coronado-beach-1